Metro

Puppy in police vest captures hearts, raises awareness

“Tuco” almost fills up his vest at six months old.

Boston Police Department

“Tuco” almost fills up his vest at six months old.

Puppies are always cute. But a puppy in a police vest? Now that’s a different story.

Massachusetts Vest-a-Dog, a nonprofit organization formed to buy equipment for the state’s police dogs, has been piquing the public’s interest by releasing pictures of its 2015 calendar puppies on its Facebook page, one at a time.

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A picture of a tiny Boston police dog named Tuco, who was wearing a BPD ID harness, drew plenty of viewers on the Internet Sunday when it was released, said Kathy Hinds, president of Vest-A-Dog.

Tuco was 9 weeks old in the picture that shows him wearing a police vest almost as big as he is, Hinds said. Today, Tuco is about 6 months old and almost fills up the vest.

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The annual puppy calendar is the nonprofit’s largest fund-raiser for essential equipment needed for law enforcement dogs, including bulletproof vests, K-9 first aid kits, and the bite suits and sleeves used in training. Since 2000, Massachusetts Vest-a-Dog has provided the Boston police K-9 unit with 26 K-9 vests and several K-9 first aid kits, according to the organization’s Facebook page.

“We’ve featured a puppy in the calendar before, but he wasn’t wearing a vest,” Hinds said. “I think the adorable factor of the picture of Tuco went up mega-times because you can see how big the harness is around that teeny puppy.”

The $10 calendar is generating more interest this year than in the previous nine years the company has created them, Hinds said.

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“We are thrilled not just because it’s a cute puppy picture, but it also raises awareness for the police dogs, whose training starts at birth,” Hinds said. “It’s a huge responsibility. . . . Though many handlers would say that it’s just the best job in the world.”

The calendars feature police dogs from the State Police and local departments, including Boston, Bridgewater, and Raynham.

The calendars can be purchased online, and are also available at all Massachusetts Vest-a-Dog events.

Trisha Thadani can be reached at trisha.thadani@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @TrishaThadani.

 Correction: Because of a reporting error, a previous version of this story incorrectly described what one of the dogs, Tuco, is wearing in one of the photos. He is wearing a Boston Police Department Identification harness.

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